“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
Like tightly-wound springs suddenly released, Americans are on the move—thanks to the COVID vaccines and easing of travel restrictions. Millions are hitting the road and flocking to the skies. Airports are crammed, national parks are overwhelmed, and interstate highways are buzzing—all with pent-up vacationers who are ready to go ANYWHERE.
I’ve been an intrepid traveler for decades…by car, air, train, boat, and foot. But whatever the mode, everything has become increasingly congested and complicated—especially air travel. Airline scheduling is insane, with canceled flights, delays, overbookings, pilot shortages, and extra cleaning requirements. I really feel sorry for the overworked agents and airline/airport personnel.
Last week, my beloved and I flew for the first time in more than a year. This was the third vacation we had planned for time he had scheduled to be away from work—the first two trips were canceled. During our departure, we had multiple delays on our flights, including a detour to sit on the tarmac at another airport until weather cleared at our intended stop. But we made our connections, along with our luggage…miracles still happen!
But this trip was no sweat compared to an adventure we took with our kids years ago. That debacle was for a cruise, our giant Christmas present for our kids. Long story short—our flight was delayed leaving, and we missed three subsequent connections. We were put on a flight to a different destination airport, and that plane was delayed due to a mysterious flaky substance coming out of the air vents. When we finally arrived there to catch a bus, the cruise line representative met us and shouted “Run!” We scurried outside to see our bus pulling away in the distance. The cruise rep called the driver, got the bus stopped, and we ran a half-mile to catch up. We got onto our cruise ship 10 minutes before it pulled away from the dock. Our luggage and clothes never arrived the entire week, even though they were shipped to one of the ports to connect with us. We eventually got everything back after the trip, never worn.
But…we decided to have as much fun as we could on the trip, resolving to make happy memories after a stressful beginning. We decided it would have been far sadder if our luggage had taken the cruise without us!
I cringe now making travel arrangements. We can make the very best plans, checking out all the options and online reviews, with backup contingencies. But, in reality, whatever can go wrong, will go wrong…usually in a domino effect. Once one problem hits, everything in sequence begins to unravel.
It’s a great reminder that we’re never really in charge of anything. Someone else is flying the plane. Someone else is making the schedules. And we’re really just cattle being herded through airport security, hoping we can make it through without getting completely body-searched.
And, Someone Else is running the whole show. God is ultimately in charge of our lives. There is no higher authority. Only He is sovereign over the course of our lives, travel included. Our plans will succeed only when they align with His will for us. In the process, He tests our patience, faith, and trust in His good purposes. Travel happens to be an excellent medium for Him right now.
I frequently have to stop and remember that all travel is a huge privilege. It’s an unmerited blessing—to see new horizons, to encounter different cultures, to taste and smell a foreign life…even if I’m just driving over in the next county.
If you’re in the market to travel this summer, make your plans carefully. Build in extra-long layovers in airports to allow for flight delays. Get to the airport very early…security is doubly hard now with the crowds. Pack light. Take plenty of cash…and tip generously. Make sure your passport date is still valid. Take extra charging cords for electronics! Don’t complain when you’re delayed, when things cost more than you expected…just enjoy finally being at your destination and take it all in stride. Be kind to fellow travelers.
And pray. Pray for God to extend His travel mercies to you. Pray for Him to send His angels to guard and guide the airline pilots (or bus drivers, train engineers, or boat captains). Pray for protection from illness. Pray for patience when things go wrong (and they will), a sweet spirit with harried service agents, and gratitude when you arrive safely. Pray for God to give you kind words that speak of His love to others along the way who need encouragement.
May you find Him at every turn in your journey!
Lord Jesus, You journeyed across Israel in Your compassion for Your children—taking dusty roads to remote places in order to heal the sick, raise the dead, and bring eternal life and light into the darkened corners of the world. Please go with us now in our life travels, wherever You send us, that we may be Your ambassadors of light. Give us patience, wisdom, and joy in the journey. In Your name, Amen.
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© Copyright 2021 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography…and credit to my son, Alex, for plane photos in this blog)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.